We arrived at our first stop in Washington during a steady rainfall. It was the first time we had to set up in the rain since we hit the road full time 8 months ago so we have nothing to complain about. After over 2 days of pouring rain the sun once again peeked out from behind the clouds and we were able to head out for some sightseeing. Although it was not a perfectly clear day, we were fortunate enough to see the peak of Mt. Rainier as we entered into the Mt. Rainier National Park. We learned that much of the time people don't even see the peak due to the high precipitation and cloud cover in the area. We started our trip through the park at the lower elevation and drove through a moss and lichen covered forest of evergreens. We weren't driving for long when we came upon a black bear foraging right on the side of the road. As we drove further into the higher elevations we saw some beautiful waterfalls and lots of snow. We took a couple of short hikes before reaching the highest point we could drive. That was at the visitor center where we were surrounded in 20 to 30 foot snow banks. We were lucky enough to once again get a few peeks between the clouds of the top of Mt. Rainier which tops off at 14,416 feet, by far the highest point in the area. Our next campground took us to Monroe Washington where we were able to celebrate Claudia’s birthday with a trip into Seattle. Claudia has posted a separate blog entry describing our day there so be sure to check it out. Following our day in Seattle, we took a day to relax before heading out on a beautiful 5 mile hike into Wallace Falls State Park. Stella joined us as we made our way through some beautiful forest and up to 3 gorgeous waterfalls. I say "up" because it was quite a climb but we all made it back and forth without too much trouble. Our next campground was supposed to be our last stop before beginning our Canadian and Alaskan adventure but unfortunately, we learned very quickly that this was not a good campground for us. With no cell service, Wi-Fi or TV and a site that needed a lot of work we decided that we just couldn't stay there for 2 weeks. Because it was the beginning of a 3 day Canadian weekend however and with the campgrounds full we decided to stick it out for 3 days. We took advantage of our time there by doing some necessary shopping as well as taking a very nice drive out to Oak Harbor, a town on an island off the Washington coast. While there we crossed a couple of enormous bridges through what we learned was called Deception Pass. We pulled over to take a closer look and discovered a beautiful canyon with the ocean running through it as we walked across both bridges and climbed along the banks. This is another example of the type of places we have been lucky enough to stumble across that display beautiful parts of this country that we never knew existed. When we did finally hit the road again, we found a great campground in Lynden Washington where we were able to relax and prepare for the next phase of our adventure. While there we took a trip across the border and visited Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in Vancouver. In addition to crossing over a 450 foot long, 250 foot high suspension bridge across a gorge, we also climbed up into an enormous tree house and walked from treetop to treetop across a series of suspension bridges. Yes, they were high and yes, they swayed. We had some great views up there and when we returned to ground level, we had many more great views as we walked along paths in this beautiful park within a forest containing some of the oldest trees in North America. After our walk, we still had one more path to take. This time it was along a path they call the "Cliffwalk" and it was just that. This was a series of boardwalks attached to the wall of cliffs and eventually out onto a portion of the boardwalk that jutted out from the cliff faces by about 40 or 50 feet so that you felt like you were suspended in midair. This was a bit creepy but another great view, particularly straight down. It turned out this was the last sightseeing trip we took out of Washington due to plenty of rain during our stay in Lynden. Instead we continued to look for places to see in Alaska and in addition to booking a Riverboat Discovery Tour out of Fairbanks we also made lots of notes about other great spots to check out at our various stops. Knowing that I’m stating the obvious, we’re very excited about the next phase of our trip. Beginning in 2 more days, we begin our 5700 mile, 52 day tour through some unbelievable areas of Canada and Alaska before returning to the US on July 20th in Shelby, Montana. We’re ready to go!! Ed
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Ed and Claudia always dreamed of retiring and travelling the country in their motorhome. They retired in 2013 and this is the continuing story of their adventures on the road.